The striking contrast between anonymous, grayed chickens in cages and a resplendent golden pheasant in this painting speaks to the degree of fidelity and compassion we show to one another as a society, which I believe is one of the most fundamental issues of our time. I recently re-worked this painting to include the disintegration and abstraction around the edges, which echoes the fracturing of our current culture. This approach to my work is based on my new series revolving around the idea of disintegration. I've been soaking reference photos in water until the emulsion disintegrates to varying degrees. I'm then able to use these fractured images as a starting point for an entirely new way of thinking about imagery. As a realist, this is so liberating!Comment on or Share this Article →
Just finished this 16 x 20 oil on panel titled Genesis. My earliest memory when I was maybe four or five is drawing a lion on the cardboard back of a notepad, and with that in mind I tried to reflect on the genesis of creativity and what makes each of us unique. This painting features my paint cabinet with pencil sharpener attached, a small bronze lion I have in my studio, and a vista of Florence, Italy which has also been the genesis of many of my favorite works.Comment on or Share this Article →
It is so depressing to read or listen to the news in the world today, Genocide, random shootings, economic turmoil, it just never seems to end. To do my little part, I wanted to create a painting that contrasts that reality with light and positive energy. The distorted figure in the background taps into an abstract expressionist part of me I needed to let out, and which helps convey my own empathy for individuals and societies that are going through hard times right now. The goldfinch, used as a symbol of rebirth in art for centuries, is shown still tethered to this world by a nail and a string. When all is said and done, the difference between despair and hope is night and day.Comment on or Share this Article →
With talk of inequality in America reaching a fever pitch of late, I am reminded of our founding fathers, like Washington, Adams and others, who directed from the outset that we seek unity and the common good. With that in mind, I wanted to create a painting that reflects on a fundamental question: What degree of fidelity do we owe one another as a society [seeking the common good]? In a country like ours, where fierce individualism and Democracy both wear the same yoke, finding the answer to that seemingly basic question has become, in my opinion, the defining issue of our time.
This painting was finished on Veterans Day in the Mermaid's Bite Gallery in Naples, Florida. Inspired by our soldiers returning from war, I wanted to show this wounded warrior in mortal agony, to remind us of the true cost of war, as the cherry blossoms bloom and the robin returns, hopefully signaling brighter days ahead. For purchase info, contact the gallery at 813.335.0043.Comment on or Share this Article →
Close to Shore
Thinking back through life, some of the most memorable moments are not the happiest ones. Grief, sorrow, and loss are a part of life, and we can only hope that brighter days will come soon. This painting reflects upon our ability to cope with that state of human experience.
I recently attended a Seattle Center for the Book Arts workshop with my wife Andree who is a board member, and while there, I met Meredith Clark, a gifted Seattle poet who was offering her poetry writing services on the spot. When I briefly described the main points of this painting, this is the poem she came up with, and it sums up my feelings beautifully:
Dark lake, late light. Please
shut the gate tight behind you. There are always
things that want to work their way in
to these kinds of places where days
close and nights begin. If we float out
far from either shore, there will be stars
to count. The sentinels, we cannot
see them anymore. All around, the dark
paints out the colors that were once
so thick. Remember them, the waters lull
later and later against the hull.
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If birds could give us a sermon, what would they say?
Ever since viewing Giotto's "St. Francis' Sermon To The Birds" (reproduced on the altar in this painting) years ago, I have wanted to create a painting roughly based on that idea, but instead painted from the birds' viewpoint. I have often wondered, if birds were to give us a sermon, what would they say? And how would they say it? Given the recent oil spill tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico, it isn't hard to imagine what they would say to us. If birds could swear, I'm sure we would get an earful.
The plaque underneath the altar reads "San Francesco, San Di Patrono Degli Animali" (St. Francis, Patron Saint of the Animals).
This painting is the first in a series I'm starting based on the convergence of memory, time and place. One of my most vivid memories is watching Mt. St. Helens erupt out my living room window on the morning of May 18, 1980 when I was a teenager, and then visiting the charred landscape soon afterwards, which resembled a foreboding moonscape. Juxtaposing this cataclysmic event with lilies and a peacock, both symbols of purity and beauty respectively, allowed me to create a narrative that speaks to the uncertainty and awe I felt at the time.
Having visited Mt. St. Helens many times since, it has exploded with life as a testament to the healing power of nature. Do you have a story to tell about Mt. St. Helens? I would love to hear about it.
Fog Woman is a Tlingit Native American tale of a beautiful woman who appears mysteriously out of the fog, delivering salmon and sustenance to Raven. I was intrigued with the idea of putting this Native American myth in a modern context.Comment on or Share this Article →